Columbo - LAPD homicide detective
Columbo fetaured on the police drama COLUMBO/NBC/1968-78/ABC/1989-2003+.
often seen holding a half-smoked cigar in his hand or in his
mouth. He prefers them factory-cut and from the comments of
suspects on the show, the supermarket-purchased stogies smell very
In later episodes, Columbo adopted the habit of buying uncut
cigars and preparing the ends by chewing off the tips himself. On
one episode, a man offers Columbo a cigar-cutter and says “the
only civilized way to prepare a cigar for smoking…keeps the filler
tobacco out of your mouth. What do you do? You gnaw on it like a
beaver! I don’t know how you smoke ‘em after you mangle ‘em like
Columbo first carried his cigars in the breast pocket of his suit
jacket but over time he has fumbled through a variety of pockets
in his shabby raincoat, shirt, or pants to find a smoke or a match
with which to light them.
When offered a "fine" cigar from an acquaintance, Columbo
generally accepts the gift but tells his benefactor that he'll
save the cigar for later. (Either Columbo truly prefers the smell
of cheap, stinky cigars or he uses that smell as a weapon to
unsettle his suspects. Maybe it's a bit of both).
Columbo has stored his cigars in such containers a soft leather
pouch to a metal Altoid mint tins.
Now with all the medical information available about the dangers
of tobacco, you would think that Columbo would know better but he
insists on smoking even though at times he has tried to kick the
habit either at the advise of his doctor [“And let me give you
some free medical advice – stop smoking those things!”] or because
of his wife who told him the cigar smoke hurts the houseplants.
Columbo has tried to quit on several occasion but always has
fallen off the wagon so to speak. He even admitted one night "I
don't know why I smoke these things so early in the morning, they
On another occasion while jogging the beach, fellow runner Milos
Janus advises “Those cigars you smoke -- they’re gonna kill you."
Huffing and puffing, Columbo concurs saying “Yessir, I tell ya,
that’s how I feel right now.” So, why does he continue smoking?
Well, as Columbo once said "I think better when this is lit?"
[Episode "Try and Catch Me"].
TRIVIA NOTE: As for the brand of
cigar Columbo smoked, there is no definitive answer because
they've never been mentioned on the program. But sharped-eye
viewers have claimed to have seen such brand names as White Owl
and Garcia y Vega Elegantes.
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